I read The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery, when I was young. I recently saw the book when Boogs and I were at Barnes & Noble, so I bought a copy. I showed Boogs the picture of a drawing at the beginning of the book. Boogs guessed that it was a hill of dirt. Then he had an a-ha moment when we turned the page and saw the outline of an elephant inside the "hill of dirt". As we read, he realized the hill was actually a snake who had eaten an elephant. We had an interesting conversation about perspective and how a person's background knowledge colors the way they see things. We discussed this line from the book: All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it. The narrator was making the point that as people grow up they lose their wonder and creativity. Boogs told me that he thinks I still know what it is like to be a child. That comment made me smile. I am so glad summer break is here and we get to hang out together more. I made our first lunch of summer based on the two snake drawings in the book.
As we continued to read The Little Prince, I realized that it was not like I remembered it. I looked into it and realized the Barnes & Noble book I bought had an updated translation. I read the Katherine Woods translation when I was young. The book I was reading with Boogs was translated from French into English by Richard Howard. I went to a used book store and found a copy of the book translated by Woods. The Woods book had black and white illustrations whereas the Howard book had color illustrations. Boogs liked the color illustrations better, so he followed along in the Howard book while I read aloud from the Woods book. Naturally, as he followed along, he noticed many differences in how things were written. Boogs told me he liked the Woods translation more because it gave him a better picture in his mind. He also said he liked the "stronger vocabulary" in the Woods version. He gave me the following example to show me what he meant.
Snakes - they are malicious creatures. This one might bite you just for fun.
Snakes are nasty sometimes. They bite just for fun.
A couple of days after we finished reading The Little Prince, Boogs and I were in the kitchen. He said, "I am eager to go visit my friend M at 10 o'clock. I can't wait for time to speed up." Then Boogs smiled and added, "Or, in the words of the poorly translated Little Prince, I could say 'I am very, very, happy to see M.' Saying it the second way is not as interesting." I love Boogs' interest in words.
Boogs said he would like to keep both translations of The Little Prince because the Woods book had better words and the Howard book had color illustrations.
I made a second lunch to go with the book.
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